Joseph Biden, who campaigned on the promise of immigration reform, finds himself incapable of managing the biggest immigration crisis of the last twenty years. Meanwhile, Kamala Harris – the person in charge of the White House immigration front – is missing in action.
When President Biden ran for the Presidency, he sold himself as the moderate choice among his party’s contenders and the compassionate alternative to former President Donald Trump. Then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden campaigned as a veteran of Washington politics with the experience to navigate the crises which plagued the nation, and a record of achievements that supported his claimed ability to create consensus and co-operation in government. Truth-be-told, the mantle suited him. As a Senator, he worked with Presidents of both parties and amassed an enviable legislative record. As Vice President, Biden was largely responsible for the implementation of the Recovery Act and the end to the war in Iraq.
How, then, has the Biden Presidency gone so wrong?
As President, Joe Biden has been a well-intentioned leader whose policies are meant to promote the general welfare of the American people. However, as the crisis at the Southern border has shown, he is grossly unprepared to deal with the real issues facing the country today.
Over the last weeks, the country has seen the real consequences brought by blind idealism, and an inability to face facts and reality. As thousands of Haitian migrants converge on Del Rio, Texas with the hope of being granted asylum, the President has created a political and humanitarian crisis which could have been avoided (like much of what has happened during his presidency), if he had listened to lawmakers on the Hill.
This border crisis followed a familiar pattern: (1) The President was warned about the negative consequences of his messaging; (2) Lawmakers from both parties urged the White House to respond appropriately to the impending crisis; (3) The President ignored these concerns, and adopted an “I know best” policy stance: and (4) The crisis point happened, the White House did nothing and shifted blame to the Trump administration. Outside of the bubble the Biden administration seems to live (along with most Democrats, quite frankly), the reality of the situation is clear and stark: Biden owns the crisis at the border, and no amount of blame shifting, and verbal gymnastics will change that.
The President worked himself into this crisis long before the Haitian migrants arrived at Del Rio. During the 2020 Presidential campaign, he promised to reverse every one of Trump’s policies on immigration, and did so within his first one-hundred days in office, even as the administration knew such a drastic reversal in policy would strain an already overwhelmed immigration system. This, added to the administration’s incoherent, and outright erratic, rhetoric on immigration, does nothing less than to highlight the fact the White House has not a singular idea of how to bring this problem to a humane and responsible resolution.
Now, even though some would argue Biden ought to be left to take the heat alone for this crisis – and the immigration issue as a whole, that would not be entirely fair. Since Ronald Reagan left office in 1989, no succeeding president has been able to craft an effective vision on immigration, leaving this issue to be piled up for a future president to handle. Thus, much like Afghanistan, Biden has been forced to clean up the messes of his predecessors.
However, this is not a sufficient excuse for the utter lack of preparation and proper planning on the part of the President’s team. The image this crisis sends to the country, and indeed the rest of the world, is of a leader unable to organize and execute a unified response to the problems facing the American people. Perhaps the most interesting question that can be asked about this quagmire, is where is Kamala Harris? After all, she is the person appointed by the President of the United States to orchestrate a response to this problem. If the Vice-President is not doing the job she was elected to do, and the President will not tighten up his grip on the administration, it is appropriate to question whether or not the White House is interested in solving the biggest immigration crisis of the last twenty years, and indeed, if they are even capable of doing so.